In 1967, I visited the showroom of Holland & Holland, and after ogling the various treasures therein, enquired of one of the salesmen what kind of accuracy their bolt-action rifles were expected to deliver.
“Three shots in three inches at 100 yards,” said the gentleman.
“Do you shoot over a rest?”, I asked. No, we shoot from a sitting position, resting our elbows on a table.”
I asked if, considering the price of said rifles, if they shouldn’t shoot a little better.
“Our customers,” he replied, “have found our rifles’ accuracy quite adequate.”
And he was absolutely right. Three inches then, or now, will still get you a lot of game. An inch and a half, which was the American standard for accuracy at the time I visited H&H, will take you all the way out to 400 yards.
The sub-MOA accuracy that I now see on a regular basis is very nice to have, and is an indication of how far rifle-making has come in the past 40 years, but it’s no more necessary for big-game hunting (unless you’re going to shoot past 400 yards) than a 180-mph automobile is for driving on the highway.